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Robust systems to keep civil servants in line

DPM'S ASSURANCE: The Government takes errant officers to task, regardless of their seniority or job function, says Mr Teo.


    Mar 06, 2014

    Robust systems to keep civil servants in line

    THERE are robust systems in place to maintain the integrity of Singapore's public service.

    This was the assurance given by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean yesterday, in response to issues raised by Members of Parliament during the Committee of Supply debate.

    Mr Seng Han Thong (Ang Mo Kio GRC) noted there have been cases involving public officers found guilty of wrongdoings in the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau, the foreign service and other statutory boards.

    In his reply, Mr Teo stressed that the Government views every case of misconduct seriously.

    "Recent cases have shown that we take errant officers to task, regardless of their seniority or job function," he said, adding that the number of public officers prosecuted under the Prevent of Corruption Act has remained stable over the past five years.

    That said, the Government has stepped up efforts to keep officers in line.

    More officers are being rotated through various jobs, with the extension of the mandatory job-rotation system to more fraud-prone positions from January this year. This includes those handling procurement and market-sensitive information.

    A code of conduct for procurement officers was issued in January as well.

    The Government had also introduced rules on casino visits last year to "reduce the risk of officers becoming indebted and susceptible to exploitation", with senior public officers - including permanent secretaries and chief executives - facing "more stringent rules".

    Mr Ang Hin Kee (Ang Mo Kio GRC) also asked if more can be done to improve low-wage public officers' employability. Mr Teo said that on top of reviewing salaries regularly, with the most recent adjustment made in December, the Public Service Division also offers officers courses to help upgrade their skills.